Going, Going, Gone Vegan

Yes, I am sitting here as a vegan, telling you I’m a vegan. I see the humor. Please get all your vegan jokes out of your system – I’ll wait.

Hey guys!

As some of you may know I went vegan on December 1st, 2016. I did it so I could accurately write up a blog post and make YouTube videos for #veganuary. But then my computer kept crashing and my access to technology essentially died. BUT I’M BACK! I wanted to write about my experiences so far and how it has affected me and the people around me.

First, let’s go into why I decided to go vegan. My history with meat hasn’t been an easy road. I was that kid who would cry at the dinner table if she had to eat one bite of meat. I used to swap my one bite of meat for my sisters’ vegetables. My parents were so proud, until they caught on. My dad, being my soccer coach, always wanted to make sure I had enough protein. I remember shredding a pile of cheese that fit into a cereal bowl and just eating that. I remember going to Jack in the Box and ordering a burger and feeling proud of myself that I made it through a whole burger without wanting to spit it out. Meat became a mountain that I just had to overcome. Meat to me was like broccoli to most children. It was something I had to eat to be healthy even though I hated it.

As I grew older I became obsessed with bacon, because – BACON. I didn’t mind pepperonis or salami. I was fine with chicken if it had gallons of barbecue sauce. It slowly became easier to eat meat, but only when I really had to. I still didn’t like the texture, nor the taste. I would still gag every time I walked past the Thanksgiving turkey’s carcass. My family has teased me relentlessly about not liking meat, or equating meat to eating another life. People call me salad shaker because I was the kid who hated chicken nuggets at the McDonalds Drive-thru and would ask for a salad. But I get it, in our society and according to the standard American diet, hating meat is weird.

When I met my fiance, he basically only ate chicken for every meal. I had never had a chicken wing, and he made them look delicious. Slowly but surely I had a bite, then a whole wing, then a whole order. I still never got to the point where I could touch them, but I could eat them. One Thanksgiving my dad toasted to him because it was the first Thanksgiving ever that I had tasted some of the bird. I felt annoyed that being vegetarian was such a topic of conversation, but also a little accomplished that now maybe people would stop making such a big deal because I had a slice of meat.

Fast forward to a couple years later and realized that I pay my own bills and live my own life, why am I still eating for everyone else’s benefit. I don’t like meat, I don’t feel good when I eat meat, I don’t want to eat it – so why am I? I started doing research about proteins, either in bar or powder/supplement form. I started asking people around me if there is actual proof that eating animals is better for you than not. (by the way, still haven’t found that yet, so if you know of a documentary or published study where meat eaters were healthier than responsible vegans, please share. I am curious and always learning. On the opposite end of the spectrum, highly suggest Forks Over Knives on Netflix.)

Meanwhile, I was discovering the zero waste movement. I found out the state I was living in didn’t have a bottle bill or a full state recycling program. I spent most of my time reading blogs, watching YouTubers, or watching Netflix documentaries about zero waste, sustainability, and how we are handling our trash in general. I started this blog, I joined local committees and starting working with nonprofits and local government. I preached to anyone that would listen that Wall-E is our future and we need to do something before we’re all cubes of trash. But I was a hypocrite.

Animal agriculture is the biggest form of pollution on this planet. From the animals themselves, to the food grown for the animals. One pound of beef takes 100 gallons of water to produce. I thought of my friends and family back home in California living in a drought, and then posting selfies with In-N-Out. I looked at these selfies, preaching zero waste, holding a reusable water bottle, all while eating a chicken taco, and hating it to “be healthy”. So I decided to be officially, vegetarian. No more bacon, no more pepperoni on my pizza, nothing. I had my slip ups, but I tried to avoid it when I could. (I got free pizza at the job I was at and pepperoni, bell pepper, olive, and mushroom was my favorite pizza topping. So that happened. Fail.)

Which brings me to December of last year. At this point I am zero waste, vegetarian, and watching more vegan and sustainable YouTubers than I am watching crime shows. Which, if you know me, is A LOT of YouTube. I watched raw vegans, raw til four vegans, classic vegans, people who were vegan every other month, people who were vegan during the week, but standard American diet on the weekends – everyone. The more “What I Eat in a Day” videos I watched the more I realized I could totally be vegan.

I was worried about the health issues. I’ve heard of parents being arrested for child abuse because their children were malnourished vegans. Or people who tried going vegan themselves and became very sickly looking and ill. Which brings me back to doing supplement research. I talked to my doctor and decided to officially take the plunge. I did want to get my blood tested before and after the “test month” of December but that didn’t happen because – needles. #terrifying

So second – HOW DID I SURVIVE THAT MONTH!??! Well I started keeping a journal on my computer but because this was also around the time my computer started to die, I rapidly became the worst journalist on the planet. Here’s roughly what I ate on my first week:

MONDAY
BREAKFAST:
Bowl of rice Chex and rice milk

LUNCH:
About two large carrots, a head of broccoli, and two bell peppers with homemade hummus
Matcha latte with almond milk

img_0368.jpg

DINNER:
Black bean burger from Plant Power
Chili cheese fries from Plant Power

IMG_0366

IMG_0625

Total: 243g carbs | 59g protein | 47g fat*

TUESDAY
BREAKFAST:
12oz of orange juice
Chocolate banana almond butter smoothie

LUNCH:
Avocado toast on gluten free bread
Matcha latte with almond milk

IMG_0677

DINNER:
Homemade miso soup
One asian pear
Acai bowl

IMG_0707

Total: 190g carbs | 28g protein | 53g fat*

WEDNESDAY
BREAKFAST:
Chocolate banana almond butter smoothie

LUNCH:
Avocado toast on gluten free bread
Matcha latte with almond milk

DINNER:
Bagel with cream cheese, spinach, onion, tomato, and avocado from Planet Power
Fries with mustard

IMG_0422

Total: 174g carbs | 30g protein | 89g fat*

THURSDAY
BREAKFAST:
Rice chex with rice milk

LUNCH:
Mashed potatoes and roasted veggies

DINNER:
Avocado toast on gluten free bread
Homemade miso soup

Total: 160g carbs | 20g protein | 25g fat*

FRIDAY
BREAKFAST:
Rice chex and rice milk

LUNCH:
Potato tacos with sauerkraut and avocado

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 11.35.29 AM

DINNER:
Brown rice bowl with spinach, avocado, mushrooms, scallions, sauerkraut, and mustard

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 11.37.24 AM

Total: 127g carbs | 21g protein | 44g fat*

SATURDAY
BREAKFAST:
Potato tacos with sauerkraut and avocado

LUNCH:
Whole foods salad bar
Rootbeer

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 11.37.49 AM

DINNER:
Avocado toast on gluten free bread
Banana rooibos tea smoothie with coconut milk

Total: 213g carbs | 40g protein | 79g fat*

SUNDAY
BREAKFAST:
Rice chex with rice milk

LUNCH:
Avocado toast on gluten free bread
Banana rooibos tea smoothie with coconut milk

DINNER:
Chili cheese fries from Plant Power
Raw walnut tacos from Plant Power

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 11.38.32 AM

Total: 182g carbs | 32g protein | 71g fat*
*These are all estimates using the Lifesum app.*

So it’s not the best, but it’s also not wildly unhealthy either. Each day I feel like I’m getting better and understanding how to be healthy. I take a b12 supplement almost every day and also eat calcium chews as well. The latter is mostly because Andrew bought them and they taste like candy.

The results after my first month were awesome. Now, over four months into being vegan, I feel so much better. I always thought when vegans would say “I feel amazing” it was some sort of collective marketing scam or something, but it’s true. I have so much more energy, I recovered from the flu that was going around so much faster and didn’t have to miss a day of work, and the best part is I’m not anxious about food anymore. I’m not constantly worried I’m going to have to eat something to appease someone else. I get to proudly say I’m a vegan and people stop begging me to eat just one bite or one serving, or making me feel like there is something wrong with me because I don’t like the taste. The best part for me has been the weight loss. It’s not dramatic and I haven’t even been on a scale to see the actual results, but I have gained two holes in my belt and I also don’t have to unbutton my pants when I sit down to feel comfortable in jeans that fit while standing up.

I really hope this has helped anyone who was curious or has answered any questions anyone may have about where I’ve been and where I’m going. If you do have any questions or concerns, please comment below. I can talk about food and veganism until you hate me, so don’t be shy.

Talk soon,
Audrey

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